Beef Cheeks Low & Slow with Water Chestnuts

Delicious Beef Cheeks
Few things say Winter like Beef Cheeks cooked low and slow, filling your home with divine aromas, promising a memorable meal to look forward to.  Beef Cheek leftovers (if you can salvage any!) also make wonderful meat for pies.  Don’t forget to grab some of our legendary Flaky Pastry – it’s not legendary for nothing!

This recipe is so easy, you will want to make it every Winter weekend.

Gather:

750-800gm GD Beef Cheeks trimmed and ready for the pot.

Flour for dusting.

6 large Brown flat meaty mushroom.

12 Shallots or 2 x Red Onions finely chopped.

4 cloves Garlic finely chopped & Olive Oil to fry.

500ml Full bodied Red Wine

500ml GD Beef Stock

2 x Star Anise, 4 x Cloves, Fresh Bay Leaf, fresh culinary Rosemary (use only the fine fresh tips of the plant

2 Tbsp Gourmet Direct Meat Glaze

1 x Tin Delmaine Cherry Tomatoes

1 Tbsp Butter.

1 x Tbsp Oil.

300gm tin Water Chestnuts drained.

METHOD:

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C.

Heat 1 Tbsp Olive Oil in a heavy bottomed oven dish (like a Le Creuset).  Dust your beef cheeks with flour, seasoned with a little salt and pepper,  Shake off any excess flour before searing the cheeks on all sides in the hot oil.  Remove the meat from your dish. Set aside and keep warm.

 

Heat 1 tbsp Olive Oil over medium heat in same pan used to sear the Beef Cheeks.  Add chopped Onion or Shallots, sliced Mushrooms and Garlic.  Season immediately with Salt and Pepper.  The Salt will stop the vegetables browning too quickly and allow them to caramelise slowly for maximum flavour.  You are ready to continue when the mushrooms have intensified significantly in colour and flavour.  Now it’s time to add your Red Wine, Beef Stock, Star Anise, Cloves, Rosemary & Bay Leaves.

Take 2 generous Tablespoons of Gourmet Direct Meat glaze (the Secret Sauce!) and add it to the mix.  Stir and simmer. Next add your Delmaine Cherry Tomatoes.  Return the Beef Cheeks to the pot.

After 4 hours, remove the lid and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside to rest while you prepare the Chestnuts.

Heat 1 Tbsp Butter and 1 Tbsp Oil in a non-stick fry pan (You want Butter for flavour and Oil for heat without burning.)  Remove the nuts from the butter and oil and finish in the oven for 10 minutes.

Add the Water Chestnuts into the meat dish. The Beef Cheeks should pull apart with very little effort.  Serve meaty chunks of Cheek with plenty of vegetables, creamy mashed potato and delicious Jus from the dish.

 

 

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Top 100 Gemmayze Street Inspired Lamb Shoulder

Feeding a crowd is a breeze with this Slow Cook Lamb Shoulder recipe.  The Lamb ends up so soft you can scoop it with a spoon. This recipe is inspired by a new restaurant in Auckland serving Lebanese cuisine. Gemmazye Street’s menu is a feast of the unusual for real Foodies looking for a special night out.  Featuring already in Cuisine’s Top 100 Restaurants, they are located in St Kevin’s Arcade on Karangahape Road, a unique enough setting in itself, with a view all the way to the Sky Tower.  Well worth a visit with a very welcoming atmosphere.  In the meantime, here is my take on a wonderful Lamb dish they serve.

Tip: If you use a pressure cooker for this recipe, you can reduce the cooking time by two thirds.

You will need:

1 x 2.2kg Gourmet Direct Bone In Lamb Shoulder

1 Tbsp Toasted Coriander Seeds crushed

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds toasted

200gm Gourmet Direct Lamb Glaze diluted in 500mls hot water

500mls Gourmet Direct Beef Stock

50mls Divinity Pomegranate Balsamic Reduction

2Tbsp Rice Bran Oil

1 tsp Butter

1 x large Onion (chunked)

3 sticks Celery (chunked)

2 Carrots (chunked with skin on)

5 large garlic cloves cleaned and sliced

Apricot & Herb Gremolata:

250gms chopped Otago Dried Apricots

Handful fresh Mint finely chopped

Handful fresh Coriander leaf finely chopped

1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds

1 tsp grated Lemon Zest

Olive Oil to combine & Lemon Juice to taste

Method: (Preheat Oven to 170 degrees C)

Heat oil and butter in a large pot or oven dish deep enough to accommodate the Lamb and liquid to almost cover.  Rub Corriander and Cumin seeds over Lamb.

Sear Lamb until golden brown and remove from pan. set aside.

Add vegetables to the pan and sear until softening and Onion is golden.  Return Lamb to the pot. Place on top of vegetables.  Add diluted glaze and stock to almost cover the lamb.

Cook on low heat (170 degrees C) in oven for three hours or until Lamb can be pulled from the bone with a spoon. (*See Tip above)

Remove lamb from pot.  Strain out the remaining liquid, discarding the vegetables.   Gently boil meat juices on the stove until reduced to a syrupy liquid.

Add the Divinity Pomegranate reduction. Taste and season.

(Up to this point you can make the Lamb a day ahead if you wish)

Increase oven temp to 180 degrees C.

Return the Lamb to the oven and roast for 20 minutes basting every 5 minutes with the reduced meat juices.  This is a labour of love but well worth it.  Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes while you combine all the Gremolata ingredients and season to taste.

 

Serve the Lamb with wilted greens and mashed potato.   Sprinkle with the Gremolata and serve the whole lot at the table, with any unused meat juices, so that your guests can help themselves.  Try serving a Beetroot Humus on the side for a bit of extra colour.

Enjoy!

Aromatic Pork and Apple Meatball Soup

Finished-Pork-and-Apple-Meatball-Soup

This recipe is very similar to the method of the Chicken Noodle soup released last week but with different flavours working in it.  You may decide to exclude the pork and chicken meat at the end if you wish.

Apples-and-knife

Ingredients:

For the stock:

12 x Chicken Nibbles

2 x Chicken Frames or Carcass

800gms meaty Pork Spare Ribs Bones

One Lime cut into four pieces – squeeze juice into the stock and add the residual Lime..

2 inches of fresh Ginger just opened up but no need to remove the skin

6 Kaffir Lime Leaves

2 x large cloves of fresh Garlic

1 x Granny Smith Apple and half a Red Delicious, cored and sliced into pieces

6 Coriander clumps stalks only (reserve the leaves for later)

One whole red chilli – split down the middle and seeds removed (This is optional but I like a bit of heat)

One Carrot and one parsnip chopped into chunks

Generous end of a clump of celery

500mls good quality Chicken Stock

500mls Beef stock

Water to top up stock

Oil and butter for searing chicken nibbles

Searing in Copper Pot

For the Finished Soup:

1.5 Pork and Apple Sausages per person

1 x packet good quality egg noodles (or your favourite noodles or fine Laganelle al Limone pasta noodles, which have a lovely Lemon infusion that works well with this soup.)

1 x portion of Broccoli finely sliced

1 x dash of good quality medium Sherry

Julienne Carrot, Spring Onion and Sweet Peppers

Meat retrieved from your stock brew.

Sear off the chicken nibbles and pork ribs  in a little butter and oil until they are browning up.  Add the chicken frames and sear for 10 minutes.  Add the ginger, garlic, Kaffir leaves and other vegetables and apple slices.  Add Lime juice and skins and chicken stock then beef stock. Top up with equal quantities of water.  Season with Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Put the lid on the pot and after ten minutes turn the heat down to simmer.  Simmer until the meat of the Pork Ribs is falling off the bones.  This will take around 30 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat and leave to cool completely.

Pork-and-Apple-Meatball-Soup

Drain the remaining stock and veges through a large sieve into another large pot.  Extract larger pieces of chicken and the pork meat from the ribs.  Refrigerate separately.  Use a potato masher to extract every last bit of goodness from the vegetable slurry.

Allow the stock to cool and then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.  The next day you can remove any excess fat that has settled on the surface of the stock if you wish.

To assemble the soup:

Extract twice the required quantity of stock for the number you are feeding.  Freeze the rest for another day.

Reheat the stock on a brisk boil to reduce the quantity by half.   Now add loads of fresh chopped Coriander leaf, finely sliced vegetables and, if you wish, finely diced red chilli.

Simmer until the veges are almost tender – about ten minutes. Now add the little meatballs allowing 1 1/2 pork sausages per person.  Allow the Pork balls to poach.  Taste and season.  If it needs a little Zing, add another small dash of Sherry.

Add your noodles.  Then add the shredded chicken and pork meat.  Just a small handful per person   It is important not to add the meat too early or it will go to mush.  Leave the meat quite naturally chunky, as it is if you gently extract it from the chicken carcass.  Simmer until the meat is hot and the noodles are cooked.

 

Serve with crusty bread.

Healthy Chicken Noodle Soup starts with Chicken Feet

Nothing beats homemade Chicken Soup for flavour or personal satisfaction when the job is complete.  You use nearly the whole chicken including, yes, including the feet!  The feet add a depth of flavour not achievable through simmering the carcass alone.  If the thought of chicken feet in your soup is too abhorrent then purchase a dozen chicken nibbles or wings and substitute them instead.  Use a nice deep pot for this brew.  The chicken feet crackle and spit when they’re searing so I use a crayfish pot which accommodates the whole delicious stock concoction nicely.  Try this recipe and see if you notice a difference. The resulting broth is rich and lite with a sticky depth of flavour and a lovely clean finish.  Add loads of fresh Asian Greens and herbs and the perfect Chinese soup noodles and you have a rich yet lite, satisfying, life-giving meal.

Stunning Chicken SOup made from scratch
Stunning Chicken Soup made from scratch

Ingredients:

For the stock:

12 x Chicken Feet

3 x Chicken Frames or Carcass

1 x Size 16 Free Range Chicken

Two stalks of Lemon Grass split down the middle and bashed about a bit.

2 inches of fresh Ginger just opened up but no need to remove the skin

6 Kaffir Lime Leaves

Half a bulb of fresh Garlic

Two clumps of Pak Choy Bulbs and white flesh only (reserve the leaves)

6 Coriander clumps stalks only (reserve the leaves for later)

One whole lemon – juice and rind sliced into chunks

One whole red chilli – split down the middle and seeds removed (This is optional but I like a bit of heat)

1/4 small cabbage

Generous end of a clump of celery

500mls good quality Chicken Stock

Oil and butter for searing chicken feet (not lots)

For the Finished Soup:

1 x packet good quality egg noodles (or your favourite noodles or fine Laganelle al Limone pasta noodles, which have a lovely Lemon infusion that works well with this soup.)

1 x 300ml can Coconut Cream

1 x 300ml can coconut milk or another cream if your body gives you permission.

Chicken-Feet  Chicken-Carcass-Cooking

Sear off the chicken feet in a little butter and oil until they are browning up.  Add the chicken frames and sear for 10 minutes.  Add the ginger, garlic, Kaffir leaves, Lemon Grass, Garlic and sear further.  Add Lemon juice and chicken stock then the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the whole chicken.  Season with Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Add the whole chicken and just enough water to cover it.  Put the lid on the pot and after ten minutes turn the heat down to simmer.  Simmer until the meat of the whole chicken is falling off the bones.  This will take around 40 minutes.

Remove the whole chicken to a platter to cool til you can extract the yummy meat.  Give the bones to your cat who will love you for them.  Reserve the meat, cover and refrigerate.

Drain the remaining stock and veges through a large sieve into another large pot.  Use a potato masher to extract every last bit of goodness from the vegetable slurry.

Allow the stock to cool and then refrigerate overnight.  The next day you can remove any excess fat that has settled on the surface of the stock if you wish.

Reducing-Chicken-Stock

To assemble the soup:

*Note – you may want to freeze a quantity of the stock at this point depending on whose Army you are feeding!

Reheat the stock on a brisk boil to reduce the quantity by half.   Now add loads of fresh chopped Coriander leaf, Pak Choy leaf, a little extra crushed Garlic, Ginger and finely diced red chilli.

Add the Coconut Cream and milk.  Depending on your stock quantity, you may not want two cans here.   Taste and season.  Your reaction should be “Wow!”  If it needs a little Zing, add the juice of half a Lime.

Add your noodles.  Simmer gently for ten minutes. Lastly add the shredded chicken meat.   It is important not to add the meat too early or it will go to mush.  Leave the meat quite naturally chunky, as it is if you gently extract it from the chicken carcass.  Simmer until the chicken meat is hot and the noodles are cooked.

Finished-Soup-plated

To Serve:

Extract the noodles first and place in the centre of a wide soup bowl.  Add the meat component on top then ladle the exquisite soup broth.  Add a generous handful of chopped, fresh Coriander leaves to garnish.    If you are not such a Coriander fan then Parsley will suffice here.

 

Northern Thai Pork Sausage ‘Sai Oua’

Pandawan Cooking School is one of a number of cooking schools based in Chiang Mai. What makes Pandawan different is their luxurious cooking facilities upstairs, with views out towards the gardens. That’s not a must have, however, when you’re sweating about what you have to cook, you don’t also want to be physically sweating in a stuffy working kitchen in Chiang Mai’s old town!

The first stop on the tour was to the local markets. Just as you’d expect anywhere, there’s a plethora of what you recognise and a wide array of ingredients you’d rarely find in New Zealand. Our guide explained the difference between Holy Basil and Sweet Thai Basil. (Sweet Thai has a anise clove flavour) and then the difference between lime (used for it’s juices) and the wrinkly kaffir lime (used for it’s skin, similar to lemon rind).

northern_thailand_recipes__1

Chiang Mai Market Butchery

The butcher is a different place altogether from what you’re used to at Gourmet Direct. Meat is presented in the open, in a slightly cooled room with every part of the animal there to be bartered for. Chicken doesn’t just come in breasts and thighs, there is no wasted parts of the chicken, after all, Thailand has 67 million people to feed!

northern_thailand_recipes__2

The prize chickens are the fighting ones, well the fighting cocks that lost. They are well looked after, at least when they’re alive, so they taste the best, so we’re told. 

prize fighting chickens

Angry bird shaped precooked meat helps kids eat their soup as fast as any other trick.

northern_thailand_recipes__4

Chiang Mai Market Butchery

On to the first tasting and it’s pork scratchings with a northern green chilli paste delicacy that is sweeter than most with a fire that fills the mouth not the throat. I decide to buy a little of both as they go great with a Beer Chang or Singha. Ideal for the cooler evenings, after these super hot and dry days in their 30’s.

northern_thailand_recipes__5

Marinate then make the sausage

Last stop on the way out of the market, is also the first stop for most during the evenings so I’m told with queues ready to buy 3 – 4 kg at a time.  The Pork Sausage looks like the South Africa boerewors yet taste a world apart. Here it’s about spicing the sausage for marination before making the sausage not after. That way the marinate is integral to the sausage.

northern_thailand_recipes__6

Inside the sausage goes turmeric, galanga, lemon grass and chilli paste, but despite some smiles and wrangling, I was unable to get the exact measure of each to make these beauties. Needless to say the chilli paste is more important than the pork in these 100% pork sausages. We decided to take up the challenge and make Northern Thai Pork Sausages, now available at the link below.

Gourmet Direct Northern Thai Pork Sausage

>> Link to pork sausage

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Quick and Easy Stuffed Turkey Breast (serves 6)

You can put this together in 10 to 15 minutes prep time.

Cooking time is only 1 – 1 1/2 hours and then rest.

1 Turkey Breast (1.2kg)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

salt and pepper

1 cup white wine

1/2 – 1 cup apricot chutney, date or tamarillo. (I used a lovely homemade spicy apricot)

4 – 8 spinach leaves from the garden (just pull the centre stalk off)

4 – 6 slices dry cured bacon (rind removed)

 rolled turkey breast

Take skin off the turkey breast and set aside.

Remove fillets – small pieces loose meat from the breast.

Place breast between 2 clean tea towels and thump with your rolling pin to flatten.

Lay the beaten breast on your board and smother with your chutney of choice.

Sprinkle almonds, lay spinach leaves on, with a wee bit of salt and peppter on top.

Roll up and then smoth more chutney on the inside of the turkey skin and roll breast in skin.

Lay bacon slices over rolled breast. Tie up with sting and place in roasting dish.

Pour in white wine and roast for 1 – 1.5 hours @ 170 degrees.

Rest for 15 minutes.

Slice and serve.

Pour over pan juices.

So easy!

stuffed_turkey_breast recipe

Pia’s Stuffed Butterflied Leg of Lamb Recipe

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS
1 Boneless Lamb Leg (1.3kg)
Salt and Pepper
500g Spinach, stalks removed
½ cup Olive oil
200g Halloumi grated
4 Tablespoons fresh Mint washed and stalks removed
2 Lemons zested
½ cup Almonds sliced and toasted
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
375 ml Verjuice
200ml Meat Glaze

 

METHOD
Preheat Oven to 180c. Take your Boneless Lamb Leg and slice thru from the fat end horizontally till nearly all the way so you can open to butterfly and lay on your board.
Season with salt and pepper. Place the spinach in a bowl and pour boiling water over to blanch, drain and squeeze out water. Spread the spinach over the lamb.
Combine the mint, zest, almonds, garlic and halloumi in a bowl and then spread over one side of the spinach in the lamb. Cover the mix with the top side of the lamb so it is closed.
Tie securely both ways. In a pan big enough to fit the Lamb that is ovenproof, heat a little oil and sear Lamb all over. Remove pan from heat and add the Verjuice and 1 cup water to the dish. Cover and roast for 2 ½ hours. Let rest for 20 minutes and put your sauce mix into a pan and add Meat Glaze, simmer for 10-20 minutes till reduced and thickened. Season with salt and pepper and add a little butter to the sauce before serving.